Why is IoT arriving slower in some industries? Identity and other blockers

WiderPoV: Velocity of digital identity adoption is higher where culture perceives technical change as opportunity to be seized more than as risk to be managed.

Our team talks with many digital identity and IoT professionals each week. One of our Michaels remarked that diffusion of innovation and propagation of both IoT and digital identity seems uneven. Three examples of uneven IoT and Identity of Things adoption…  

🏭 Medical device factories

IDoT is already pervasive within high assurance settings such as medical device manufacturing. Advanced facilities are highly automated, featuring lines of interconnected stations and equipment from an array of vendors. IDoT is is already well established and essential to interoperability, uptime, event tracking and traceability.

🏥 New-Build Hospitals 

IoT is growing fast within new-build hospitals and larger health systems. 

“We are building an academic medical center downtown to replace two existing hospitals and IoT and automation is considered a core competency of and pillar by which we are building this new hospital. Anything that can be used on a patient is going to be monitored. The goal is, if we do it for the new hospital, we do it across the network.” 

IDoT is at an early stage within most hospitals. One respondent reported 20% to 30% of connectable medical devices are actually connected with their data integrated to EHRs. This includes devices used to manage and intervene directly with patients such as infusion pumps and ventilators, and measurement devices such as O2 SAT.

🔌 Old Energy vs Digital Natives

IDoT is still immature within the energy sector. 

“We see an asymmetric status between the hardware manufacturers, software and platform providers that are all relatively digital native and the utility or grid operators whose systems have been designed for an era of top-down management and coordination of a small number of very large assets.” 

Energy grid operators are saddled with aging equipment and struggle to extract value from IoT. IDoT will be essential to enable citizen-prosumers to participate in energy markets and to digitally mediate relationships between legacy systems, customers, and the distributed asset base. 

Assessment

New questions: 

  • What is driving or blocking adoption of higher assurance IDoT?  
  • Which blockers are reasonable? 
  • Why are the speeds and rates of proliferation so different within an industry and across industries? 

WiderPoV: 

Institutional blockers and drivers for Identity of Things are familiar. 

  • Cybersecurity is difficult, and has typically been an afterthought within IoT.
    • You can now identify IoT devices with high assurance, e.g. X509 certs, DIDs, MUD / DICE numbers. Even 8 bit microcontrollers can host a secure cryptographic key. This wasn’t the case a few years ago. 
    • “Customers don’t want to pay for security” was never a good excuse and isn’t working any more. Higher assurance digital identity is technically easy, proven, and cheap. 
  • Buyers are pulling for identity innovation through the supply chain. They seek flexibility in operations, realignment of large capital assets, and futureproofing of new capital assets. These are C-suite strategic goals. 
  • Device makers are pushing for better identity of things.
    • Now: Trust as a differentiating feature. 
    • Soon: Trust as required product attribute. 
    • Then: Trust assumed for ecosystem participation. 
  • IoT is following a traditional Diffusion of Innovation path. So is Identity of Things.

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